Man helps save 9-year-old girl burned after playing with lighter

by: Ken Lemon Updated:

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DALLAS, N.C. - A man helped save a 9-year-old who is now recovering at the Baptist Burn Center.

"I don't even know how to describe what it feels like to see a child on fire," Mike Sellers said.

Gaston County fire investigators are now warning parents about the dangers of fire hazards during this time of year.

Investigators said over the next few weeks, children are going to watch their parents light jack-o'-lanterns.

They said parents need to keep those lighters away from children.

Chance Taylor, 9, and her friend found a lighter and their curiosity almost led to tragedy.

Sellers was stunned by what he saw Tuesday in his back yard near Dallas.

His 8-year-old daughter and his neighbor's 9-year-old granddaughter found the lighter.

He said they got gas used for the lawn mower and started a fire with leaves.

"They played with something that could have killed them," Sellers said.

Sellers had no idea until he heard a cry for help.

"One of those blood-curdling bad screams and I knew," he said.

He ran to the back yard and saw Taylor.

"She was running through the yard on fire," Sellers said.

She had third-degree burns on her leg and back.

Investigators said vapors from the gas ignited and spread to her clothes.

They showed Channel 9 how the fumes alone can spark a fire that spreads in a flash.

"Kids have a natural curiosity for fire and they will experiment," said Deputy Fire Marshal Allen Middleton.

Sellers said he realizes that now.

Taylor will be undergoing treatment at the burn center for the next two weeks.

"That could have just as easily been my daughter," Sellers said.

Investigators said people do not treat gas and lighters like other potentially deadly items.

They said if you can't keep them locked up, at least make sure children can't reach them.